MY NAME IS BRUCE
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Bruce Campbell,
Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi, Ellen Sandweiss
Director: Bruce Campbell
Audio: DTS HD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Image Entertainment
Features: See Review
Length: 84 Minutes
Release Date: February 10, 2009
“You don’t know fear, kid…you’ve never worked with Sam Raimi.”
Has any star ever had as much fun with his quasi-celebrity status as Bruce Campbell? The cult favorite actor has been kidding his status, kicking demon butt and enjoying life as a self-proclaimed B-list celebrity for decades. It was probably inevitable that he would end up playing himself.
My Name is Bruce is like a love letter to his fans…those who don’t know Mr. Campbell’s work or reputation are likely to be left scratching their heads, but we know better than those primitive screwheads, right?
Bruce directed himself as himself, or at least a perception of himself as a hard luck struggling actor with marital and booze problems, and getting a little tired of the cult celebrity status and all that goes with it. But those are the least of his concerns.
When his number one fan Jeff (Sharpe) from a small western town called Gold Lick accidentally awakens an ancient Chinese spirit, it spells certain doom for the folks. Jeff’s solution? Get the man who has battled more undead things than anyone on the planet. Yes, friends…his name is Bruce.
Thinking it all to be some elaborate birthday prank from his agent Mills (Raimi, in a trio of roles…take that, Peter Sellers!), Bruce is prepared to yuk it up and have a little fun, while making the moves on Jeff’s attractive mother (Thorsen). But the demon, known as Guan-Di, is a little more than this low rent actor is ready for…bean curd, anyone?
It’s a silly, mildly bloody affair all centered around the perception of Bruce as either a worthless actor (which he isn’t), or as the characters he usually plays in horror films (which he DEFINITELY isn’t). The jokes, which Bruce is mostly the butt of, mostly work. I could have done without the cheesy theme song, which is still stuck in my head, or the rather unapologetically crude depiction of an Asian stereotype.
Then again, this is a movie that aims fairly low and hits its mark. I love Bruce…even have his autograph. He’s embraced a cheesy charisma in his life and work that his fans have gleefully warmed to over the years. And any movie that focuses on him and his many perceived personas certainly equates to a fun time in my book.
BONUS TRIVIA: Ellen Sandweiss, Bruce’s co-star in The Evil Dead, plays his ex-wife.
This is a mostly sharp and crisply detailed high definition presentation from Image. Much of the film takes place in darkness, and for much of it, the images render with terrific contrast and clarity. There are a handful of shots that exhibit some undue grain and murkiness, but overall, a commendable effort for a low budget offering.
The DTS HD soundtrack works well, too. Good dynamic range, and some decent uses of the rear channels, though occasionally, the crossover effects seemed a tad forced. A character moving on screen from left to right will have his dialogue channeled from one speaker to the next…it wasn’t always necessary.
Like the movie itself, this Blu-ray disc is packed with fun if somewhat inconsequential extras. The best is the commentary from Bruce and producer Mark Richardson. Nobody does commentary like Bruce; he’s always funny, sharp, and generous with his memories.
There is a documentary (of sorts) called “Hearts of Dorkness”, more of a spoof of Apocalypse Now than a real making-of extra, but fun. There are featurettes on Bruce’s philosophies, the making of “Cavealien 2” and a trailer for it, a couple on producer “Kif”, a look at Gold Lick’s resident male couple, and a “Hard Truth” segment, which is an E! type spoof on the “real” Bruce Campbell. Rounding out is a trailer and galleries of photos, props and posters.
This one is for the fans, and you know who you are. If you love Bruce Campbell, My Name is Bruce is a cheesy, goofy, self-deprecating turn for maybe the only B-movie star who can say he’s appeared in three of the biggest blockbusters of all time (the Spider-Man movies). Grab your boomstick, get yourself some sugar, and have a groovy time with this off-beat offering.